Beer and craft brewing oral history interviews

About this collection

This collection contains a series of interviews conducted in 2015 and 2016 on the business of craft brewing in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The collection includes interviews with brewers and brewery owners from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Additionally, interviews were conducted that cover packaging (canning), distribution, retail sales, and the politics around regulating the alcohol business.

    The project was developed by Gregory Hargreaves, Hagley's former Oral Historian. Mr Hargreaves also conducted the interviews for the project.
    Image: A page from a souvenir album for the F.A. Poth Brewing Company in Philadelphia, 1890. Learn more in our digital exhibit Beer & Brewing History at Hagley Museum & Library

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Interview with Robert "Bob" Trostel, 2016 January 14
This interview took place in the conference room of BreakThru Beverage Group, lately United Distributors of Delaware, in New Castle, Delaware.
Interview with Gene Muller, 2016 January 29
This interview took place in the conference room of Flying Fish Brewing Company in Somerdale, New Jersey. Muller discusses his experience in twenty years of craft brewing in New Jersey.
Interview with Hugh Sisson, 2016 February 3
This interview took place in the conference room of Heavy Seas Beer in Halethorpe, Maryland. Sisson offers perspective on the emergence and evolution of the craft brewing industry in the Mid-Atlantic, with particular emphasis placed on the challenges of the industry over time.
Interview with Jamie Long, 2016 January 9
This interview took place in the taproom of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Long offers perspective on the process of designing and building a brewery.
Interview with Lauren Bigelow, 2016 January 6
This interview took place in the administrative office of Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, Delaware. Bigelow discusses her background and early career and contrasts it with her experience working in the craft brewing industry. Bigelow offers perspective on breweries as workplaces, the process of selling beer, and the challenges of communicating a brewery's message in a crowded market.
Interview with Robert Murray, 2016 March 9
This interview took place surrounded by cases of beer stacked to the ceiling in a storage room at State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland. Murray offers perspective on the craft brewing industry from the point of view of the alcohol retailer, detailing the evolution of the beer retail space over several decades. The environment yeilded excellent recording conditions, with the exception of music and occasional announcements coming over the public address system.
Interview with Ryan Maloney, 2015 December 29
This interview took place in the administrative office of Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford, Delaware. Maloney briefly discusses his background and early career before a more in-depth discussion of his education as a brewer and his experiences working in the brewery at Mispillion. The process of learning to brew is discussed, as are the technical aspects of the brewing process. Maloney offers perspective on the complexities of brewing as a science and a manufacturing process, and the business and marketing factors that brewers must consider in their work.
Interview with Sam Calagione, 2016 January 21
This interview took place in the conference room of Dogfish Head Craft Brewing in Milton, Delaware. Calagione offers perspective on the importance of craft brewing as a cultural and business movement. The persistent hum in the background of the recording came from machinery in an adjacent utility room, with the apologies of the interview subject. 
Interview with Taylor Smack, 2016 January 8
This interview took place on an enclosed porch adjacent to the dining balcony at Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia. Smack offers perspective on the complicated ways in which regulation shapes business; and how major business decisions at Blue Mountain Brewery were informed by regulation.
Interview with Tim Brady, 2016 January 10
This interview took place in the taproom of Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Brady offers perspective on multiple positions within the craft brewing industry including his role in brewpub operations, product distribution, and beer production.